Wired has started a series looking back at technology from 20-30+ years ago. It is always interesting to see how much things have changed, and not only the technology, but the people themselves, the style, the culture, etc.
Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category
These guys are working on some pretty cool stuff:
Checkout this TED talk that demonstrates some of it.
The Mezzanine project looks particularly interesting because it seems that they have something that is actually working. Downside is that there is no price listed which probably means that it is very expensive.
Fantastic TED talk about technology, social media and impact on relationships: Sherry Turkle: Connected, but alone?
A few months ago I stopped posting updates on my Facebook page. Recently I’ve found that I have stopped reading other people’s updates as well. It used to be that I kept up on a daily basis. Now I might check in once every week or two. This trend was not a result of any intentional decision that I made. It just happened. So I asked myself why?
When I started using Facebook, by network was fairly small and limited to a few friends and family. My network is not large by most accounts. But it is diverse and large enough that I feel the need to filter everything I say. I worry that I will offend someone or be misunderstood. And to be completely honest, I worry that I will say something that will not be of interest, even to my Mom.
It seems to me that a social network is useful when there is something shared between members of the network. Maybe it is a topic of interest or some other point of mutuality. My Facebook network no longer has that. Even ‘I’ am not a point of commonality for everyone in my network. There are some people who I added as a ‘Friend’ who are not really friends in any way. They may have been a friend of a friend or a casual acquaintance. So even ‘I’ am not a subject of interest to some of the people in the network. I’m not trying to be self-deprecating; just analytical.
My company has adopted Salesforce Chatter as a corporate social networking platform. I’m not sure that calling it a social network is correct. But it starts to look a lot like that–but for work-related discussions. And since discussions are about the company’s business there will always be at least one point in common for members of the network. And that point of commonality makes the network useful if not interesting. When I consider Linked-in, this also holds true. Linked-in is a network for professional job-search related networking. Maybe the lesson here is that a network with a narrow focus is more useful than a broad network with no particular focus.
I’ve tried Google + with the idea of circles. Maybe the idea of circles is what is needed to allow a large network to be separated into groups. But I wonder if that metaphor will be adopted by a enough people to take root. Maybe the solution for me is to un-friend people and reduce my Facebook network to a much smaller group of friends. Maybe the solution will be some kind of social network aggregator that will do some really smart filtering. I don’t think social networking is going away, but I think it will continue to evolve. I think it will look very different in a few years.
I read a number of technical periodicals and web sites. The following is a personal observation: in the past year Microsoft and Netbooks have faded and are no longer a significant part of the conversation. A few points of clarification: firstly I’m not saying that Microsoft and Netbooks are synonymous. I realize that they are separate topics and have different influencing factors. I’m not saying that you can’t find articles about Microsoft or about Netbooks. I’m just saying that they are not front and center like they used to be. And I’m not making a value statement; ie. that this is good or bad. I’m just making an observation.
I think Netbooks are still going to be around for a while and will still fill a need for some people. But I think the iPad introduced a new era of computing. It may not have killed the Netbooks, but no one’s talking about the latest crop of Netbooks anymore.
Microsoft’s a more complex picture. Microsoft is still a very large player, still very competitive, etc. But it is no longer driving the conversation like it was even fairly recently. The discussion now is about Google, Apple, tablets and smart phones, working on the go and cloud computing. Microsoft is falling behind, not irreversibly, but enough that they are trying to catch up and are a bit less relevant. Microsoft may have the desktop market but that just doesn’t seem all that interesting anymore.
Liked this Malcolm Gladwell talk:
Like the TED talks–there’s some really interesting stuff on there.
I’m sorry to see that Goggle has dropped the Wave product. I played around with the application when it was first available. It took some time to understand the idea and the implementation had its flaws. But the idea was really interesting. I was not able to use Wave because for it to be truly useful I needed my network of coworkers to also adopt the technology. They didn’t and hence the product was of no use to me. Maybe Metcalfe’s Law best describes why the project failed. Too bad. I had hoped that Google Wave would succeed.
Yesterday I got to play with a coworker’s iPad. Awesome! Apple has once again created a game changer. The realization hit home this morning while I was at the health club working out. I was reading a technical periodical and saw a picture of another, very different, new tablet computer. This is the kind with the keyboard and the screen that flips around and can be in either laptop mode or in tablet mode. When I saw the picture I had an emotional reaction: old, creaky, inefficient, ugly, etc. ”What?!? It has a keyboard? And look at the ugly hinge where the screen flips around!” Up until I played with the iPad, I would have welcomed the chance to play around with (and own) one of those tablet computers. Now, I just don’t care anymore.
The iPad brings an elegance to the field that will set the standard for all other tablets. Just as the iPod was not the first portable MP3 player, the iPad is not first in the field. But it will redefine the field, just as the iPod did.
Yesterday Apple announced the iPad. It looks awesome and I’m sure it will be a great device. But I’m disappointed about a couple things. They should have put a camera on the front. They could have made video chat/video conferencing ubiquitous. It seems like a lost opportunity. And as a developer, I’m disappointed that there is no way to do my work on the device. Wouldn’t geeks everywhere have rushed to buy one if they could build iPhone/iPad apps on an iPad?
But I am pleasantly surprised by the price. With a $500 entry point, they are positioned to sell a bunch.